Review: MEET THE MISFITS (and) ODD GIRL OUT / Melody Carlson

Meet The Misfits, /  by Melody Carlson (Being Zoey, 1)
WhiteSpark    IBSN     9781946531582

Odd Girl Out, /  by Melody Carlson (Being Zoey, 2)
WhiteSpark     IBSN    9781946531582
MG     Grades 4-6, Ages 8-13    Rating: 3

Prolife author Melody Carlson kicks off a new middle grade series, about a tween girl trying to fit in with her peers.

In Meet The Misfits, Zoey’s mother drops her off to live with her grandparents for awhile. Louisa, who lives across the street from them, becomes her friend. Zoey eventually joins Louisa’s family for church, hearing the gospel for the first time.

The girls go to church camp where Louisa’s former best friend makes life challenging. Becoming a Christian doesn’t make Zoey or her life perfect, but it does make a difference. Will Zoey discover firsthand what it means to love your enemy?

In Odd Girl Out, the girls are ready to start school, but Louisa misses the first few days due to her sickness. So Zoey is on her own, navigating the ins and outs of being at a new school, without any friends to help her.

A popular girl befriends her. So by the time Louisa returns to school, there is a rift between them. Then there is a social media smear campaign that appears to be Zoey’s fault, causing her friendship with Louisa to drift further apart. But who is really behind it?

Carlson pens an engaging series with middle school characters who don’t fit the mold. These are often the ones that struggle with bullying, poor self-image, and feeling left out. The reader sees Zoey’s character change as the result of her faith journey (from nonbeliever to new believer), but her life isn’t perfect and neither is she. The faith element is not heavy-handed but is clearly evident.

Carlson seems to capture to tween girl voice for the most part; sometimes the voice comes across as a teen instead of a preteen. However, the first book’s title seems off – will middle grade readers know what a misfit is? Would another title make it more appealing to them?

Recommended for school and church libraries. A welcome addition to middle grade literature.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

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